A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled into an XI from across Europe’s top six leagues. You can read this for all details on Talent Radar, who is eligible under it and what else we publish within this feature.
Mattia Perin | Genoa | Italy | 22 | Goalkeeper: Genoa took on Hellas Verona as they continued their quest for European football. The home side prevailed 5-2 in the end after having been threatened to be pulled back courtesy Luca Toni’s brace. Genoa’s custodian Perin could do little to stop either of the veteran’s strikes but did display his excellent shot stopping ability to deny Juanito. Juanito’s fiercely struck shot was pushed on to the post by the Italian’s fingertips at a crucial juncture of the game.
Serge Aurier | PSG | Ivory Coast | 22 | Right Back: Aurier has had an up and down season at PSG but provided a solid performance in PSG’s 2-2 draw against Caen. The Ivory Coast international set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 2nd minute of the game as the home side got off to a flying start. The 22 year-old bombed forward soon after and set up Yohan Cabaye whose shot was saved. Aurier paid heed to his defensive duties as well and made 5 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 clearances on the night, before he had to be stretchered off the field due to injury.
Aymeric Laporte | Athletic Club | France | 20 | Centre Back: Athletic Club may be struggling in La Liga at the moment but the performances of Aymeric Laporte has been a shining light in an otherwise disappointing campaign. The Frenchman was once again at the forefront of things as the Basque club kept a clean sheet. Although they rode their luck at times, Athletic’s defence held firm with Laporte making 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 clearances. The away side played quite a few long balls with the 20 year-old playing the most for an outfield player with 10, of which 6 found its target.
Raphael Varane | Real Madrid | France | 21 | Centre Back: Real Madrid took on Deportivo as they looked to atone for last week’s embarrassment at the hands of Atletico. Raphael Varane was one of the many Madrid players who had a performance to forget last week but he bounced back as we’d expect from a defender of his quality. Real Madrid kept a clean sheet as they won 2-0 and the Frenchman had a big role to play in that. The 21 year-old made as many as 9 clearances, 3 interceptions and blocked 2 shots. He was also very efficient in possession finishing the game having barely given the ball away.
Juan Bernat | Bayern Munich | Spain | 21 | Left Back:
Juan Bernat had an amazing 2014
and has started 2015 in a similar fashion. The versatile Spaniard has surprisingly established a role in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI in a variety of roles. Boasting a versatility that few his age can, Bernat is an epitome of the modern footballer. The 21 year-old played as left-back in Bayern’s 8-0 demolition of Hamburg. He made 3 tackles and 4 interceptions in the game and one of those tackles was when he pressed high up the pitch and stole the ball off the opposing player in the build-up to Franck Ribery’s goal.
Granit Xhaka| Borussia Monchengladbach | Switzerland | 22 | Defensive Midfielder: Gladbach took on bitter rivals Koln as Lucien Favre’s men continued their quest for Champions League qualification. The home side prevailed 1-0 courtesy Granit Xhaka’s goal in the dying moments of the game. The Swiss International threatened from range earlier in the second half but was denied by Timo Horn. Horn could do nothing though as Xhaka’s header found the back of the net late in the game. The 22 year-old’s contribution to the game encompassed much more than the goal as the all action midfielder was seemingly everywhere. Xhaka attempted 6 shots, made 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 clearances, and completed well over a 100 passes in the game.
Marco Verratti | PSG | Italy | 22 | Defensive Midfielder: Verratti played the entire 90 minutes in PSG’s draw as his teammates dropped like flies around him. The Italian International was at his tidy best as he completed an impressive 50 out of 51 passes in the first half. The 22 year-old’s calmness on the ball is a sight to behold and the game against Caen was no exception with more than 100 passes at an accuracy of 91.4%. The diminutive midfielder never shirks away from a tackle either and finished the game with 4 tackles and 4 interceptions to his name.
Mario Gotze | Bayern Munich | Germany | 22 | Attacking Midfielder: Bayern Munich’s aura of invincibility may have been dented following the loss against Wolfsburg but the German giants were in a punishing mood as they took apart Hamburg. Mario Gotze grabbed 2 of the 8 goals and added an assist to his name. Gotze put away the rebound after Jaroslav Drobny saved Thomas Muller’s effort to give Bayern an early 2 goal lead. Gotze then showed good awareness as he received the ball in midfield, swiveled and picked out Arjen Robben on the right who did the rest with a driving run and right footed finish. Gotze capped off the night with a great finish from the left to make it 8-0.
Khouma Babacar | Fiorentina | Senegal | 21 | Striker: Fourth place Fiorentina headed to Sassuolo and came away with all 3 points with Khouma Babacar starring for the visitors. Babacar set-up Mohammed Salah on the latter’s full Fiorentina debut with a neat flick on after coming short. Salah soon returned the favour but most of the credit for the goal has to go to the big striker. Displaying his strength, the 21 year-old held off the defender, turned and finished neatly to double the lead. The striker bagged his second of the game after half time after a great first touch and a calm finish. With 4 shots on target and 3 key passes to his name, Babacar impressed enough to grab a spot in our Team of the Week.
Harry Kane | Tottenham Hotspur | England | 21 | Striker:
Harry Kane continued his sparkling form albeit in a losing cause this time as Spurs went down 3-2 to Liverpool
. Kane equalized after Liverpool had opened the scoring with a neat first touch to take it away from Mamadou Sakho and an unerring finish. Every loose ball in the penalty area seems to invariably fall to the feet of the red hot striker. Christian Eriksen’s free kick was well saved by Simon Mignolet but Kane squared the rebound into the path of the on-rushing Moussa Dembele. The 21 year-old once again put forth an impressive overall performance as clamor for an England call-up intensifies.
Sebastien Haller | Utrecht | France | 20 | Striker: Utrecht have found themselves slipping towards the wrong end of the table recently and the game against bottom side Dordecht was a perfect opportunity to garner 3 points. Haller made full use of this opportunity and plundered 4 goals in the game in the 6-1 thrashing. Haller’s first goal was a neat first time finish after a well timed run into the box, second was along the same lines after being inexplicably left alone by the Dordrecht defence. The 20 year-old completed his hat-trick courtesy a penalty early in the second half and topped off a memorable night with a well taken 4th.